Tornado Warnings

May 2, 2011

When we moved to Arkansas 3 years ago I knew we were moving into "Tornado Alley," but it wasn't until this year that I really began to understand exactly how much that might affect us. 2011 has already gone down as a year with one of the highest tornado counts in the US in history, especially in the south.

Our local news station is always issuing "severe thunderstorm" alerts (oooh, scary... who cares about a little rain?), and warn that it could produce golf ball sized hail (okay, you have my attention...) and then, just recently, I learned that big hail means there's a possibility of tornadoes in the area.

Last week they issued a severe thunderstorm warning along with a tornado warning. It sounds scary but since we've been here there have been many of these "warnings" and nothing has ever happened so I just shrugged it off. Then, around 7pm, all of the regularly schedule programming was interrupted by the local weatherman giving us an update on the storm. This is what we saw:
See that purple area? That's where we live... And then they switched to live view where their weather cameras had spotted a funnel cloud starting to form and come down toward the earth. As I watched all of this unfolding on TV, I was nervous, scared, confused. What if this cloud I was watching touched down? What about all of those people who live in it's path?  Then I realized that the swirling funnel cloud they were showing on TV was right in the eye of the storm, right above our house. I had seen the devastation that tornadoes caused on TV, and despite living in the south, I never even dreamed that we might actually be in harm's way.

We were so blessed that that tornado never fully formed and never came all the way down, but there were a couple within a few miles of us that did. Luckily no real damage was caused and everyone was safe, but that was the closest we have ever come to an actual tornado and I hope and pray we will never come that close again.

Once the storm had passed the sky did all sorts of crazy things. Everything glowed orange and then purple. It was warm and almost as if it were a brand new day; a fresh beginning. There was a beautiful sunset in the big puffy clouds. All of our neighbors came out and it was almost as if we were all quietly celebrating the fact that we were so lucky.

Kylie was excited to go out and splash in the puddles. I'm glad she didn't understand what was going on at the time. I want her to always stay so sweet and innocent and I don't ever want her to know that scary things happen.
(In case you were wondering where Emily was in all of this, she was sound asleep in her crib. But believe me, I was ready to race in and grab her if that cloud came any closer.)

And with all of that said, I think I am officially okay with moving away from Tornado Alley!

We were lucky that this storm passed over us but some of our fellow southern states were not so lucky. Tuscaloosa, Alabama was one of those cities that was hit hardest. I just heard that the tornado that tore apart their entire town was a level 5 (the highest) tornado. My heart breaks for those victims that have lost everything including their loved ones. If you have a moment and feel so inclined please hop over to the red cross donation page (here) and help the relief effort.

Recipe Exchange  – (May 5, 2011 at 9:20 AM)  

Oh Erica that is so scary!!! I won't lie- I've been worried about you guys as I've been watching the news lately. Can't wait for you to be safe and sound in Utah!!!

Grafulas  – (May 5, 2011 at 10:06 AM)  

I wondered how you were doing. Everyone here keeps saying "May's the month," so I expect to get hit pretty hard this year considering the early start... I wouldn't miss tornados either :)

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